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Detainees at Syrian prison seize control following riot: Reports

Unrest reportedly began when authorities attempted to transfer five political prisoners to be executed
A protest at the same prison last year saw an estimated 1,200 demonstrate to demand better conditions (AFP)

Detainees at Hama Central Prison in Syria reportedly seized control of the facility on Monday and briefly locked up a number of prison guards.

The unrest began on Sunday when prison authorities attempted to transfer five political prisoners to the notorious Sednaya Prison near Damascus to be executed, local news site Orient reported.

Footage purportedly filmed inside the prison during the ensuing riot showed dozens of men crowded into a small, dark corridor shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

The unrest continued into Monday when a group of prisoners took at least one prison officer hostage, Sky News Arabia reported.

Prison authorities were reportedly preparing to attempt to retake control of the prison on Monday afternoon.

However, Damascus has denied losing control of the prison, with an Interior Ministry source telling Russia Today that there was “no truth” to reports of a riot there.

Last summer Hama Central Prison saw a huge protest involving an estimated 1,200 detainees, who staged a sit-in demanding improvements in conditions.

Prison authorities finally backed down and the head of the facility was replaced.

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